How to Set Your Luxury Brand Apart from the Ordinary

When setting your luxury brand apart from everyone else, the ordinary, what you need to know is who is your client? What subconscious desires do they have? What unmet needs do they have?

This is what I call “knowing your WHO”.

When Marriott creates a brand, it’s by the WHO is going to use it. They don’t go and build a hotel and then decide who it’s for. They don’t pick a location and build a random hotel. They target it to the market they are building it for.

For example, Marriott Hotels owns many different brands: Embassy Suites is for business travelers, Residence Inn is for extended stays, JW Marriott is for luxury resort vacations. They also own Ritz-Carlton, which, along with JW Marriott, is their luxury brand.

Think about your WHO before the WHAT you will offer them. Your products are not for everybody. Nor should they be. Not everyone drinks Coke or goes to Disneyland. There are people who do, with certain demographics. You need to know who your clients are, meaning what they value most.

Volvo markets for safety. Toyota markets to those who want reliability at a good price. Lexus markets to the high-end luxury market (Lexus and the Toyota Corolla have the same car body, but are vastly different brands targeted to different markets). BMW is the “Ultimate” Driving Machine. Kia is marketed to the low-end buyer. What are the characteristics/demographics of your clients? What is their age? What do they have in common? What is their occupation?

The ultimate goal is to know your customers’ subconscious desires even before they do and how to use that knowledge to get them to buy NOW and in the future.

It’s not always what you think. Sometimes it’s connecting with how our customers feel. This quote sums it up nicely:

“We are so in awe of our thinking brain that it never occurs to us that advertising might be quietly influencing what we buy by subconsciously seducing our feeling brain.” – Robert Heath, author of Seducing the Subconscious

Do you know the one thing Apple computer does to blow away the competition?

They talk about their values.

Apple is one of the greatest brands in the world along with Nike, Sony, Disney, and Coke and their ability to connect to consumers isn’t accomplished through rational argument. Steve Jobs did not list his computers’ attributes or detail the product at all. Instead, Apples’ early commercials talked about being creative and unique. In Apple’s advertising, and in Jobs’ pitches, this is done largely at the subconscious level.

You can see it in Steve Job’s video here: It’s called: “Here’s to the Crazy Ones.” It’s brilliant!

This is demonstrated in their “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” ads. The humor deftly belies the profound impact these ads have on the consumer psychological connection with the Apple brand. Apple defined “who they are” in an increasingly commoditized business of PC’s. Jobs talks about the “crazies”, the “geniuses”, who are Apple’s target audience. Jobs talked about how marketing, to him, is about values.

Apple doesn’t advertise qualities about their brand. They advertise what they BELIEVE. They believe at their core that they honor people who are crazy enough to believe they can change the world – and do.

Nike honors great athletes. They don’t showcase their shoes.

Milk tried for a decade to sell more milk and it didn’t work. Then they said “Got Milk?” and sales took off. It’s not about telling people to buy, in fact, the product is absent!

How can you apply this to your brand? What do you believe at your core? Who could you honor? Think for a moment who you could honor if you were creating an advertising campaign.

A nutritionist could honor Plus Size models. Coffee sellers can honor the rain forest. High-end jewelers can honor celebrities that are best-dressed. A lingerie designer could honor sexy stars and pin up girls of the past like Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, and Greta Garbo. Remember the cigarette campaign, “You’ve come a long way, baby?” That’s the same idea!

What are your brands’ beliefs? How are you different from competitors?
What are your core beliefs? What don’t you believe? Why do you believe what you do? It’s imperative you know and can articulate the answers so you can differentiate your brand and stand out.

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